Kwaito Is Not Dead, It Has Evolved

Dancing to the sound of South Africa

Kwaito Is Not Dead, It Has Evolved
I had a debate with some Facebook acquaintances last week on the thrilling subject of Kwaito music because a friend of mine had a status update that said there are no longer Kwaito instrumentals because if you muted vocals on the music we hear lately under that specific genre, you would be left with a House music instrumental instead. That status update, coupled with many comments, reiterated what has been said a lot for a long while now, that Kwaito is dead.

I assume that this status update was brought on by the big boom that Durban Kwaito has brought to the table when it comes to Kwaito music. The only problem is, it is no longer Durban Kwaito, it has become the standard. And that folks, has put it in the popular music bracket in South Africa and as we all know popular music sets the bar and is followed until something else replaces that and becomes popular instead.
But just because that is what Kwaito is sounding like at the moment, that does not mean that it is dead. The “Kwaito is dead” statement simply does not make sense. What we should rather say is Kwaito as we once knew it is dead. Is that the same thing? Well shoot me then.

“Can we just let music be what it is! People change, cultures evolve, why should music stay the same.”

Music evolves and has always evolved. Simple as that and in fact Kwaito was derived from Hip-Hop to begin with, it was formed when South African young ones who listened to Hip-Hop and related to it tried to find their own voice in music. So through trial and error they began producing beats classed under hip-hop and slowed them down to form their own sound. And form it they did, we began hearing of artists such as Trompies, Skeem, Boom Shaka, Arthur Mafokate and many more.

Youth Culture was never the same again. The interesting part is that some of the people who were involved in the inception of kwaito and who are still around now were the ones who began the transformation of its sound through the years as well. Take Oskido for example, he was one of the first people to be involved in speeding up instrumentals to begin with and he is still in the forefront even at present. Therefore I say it makes South African rapper wannabes quite ill-informed to make such statements as “Kwaito is dead”. I say rapper wannabes because we, the rappers with no albums out or not enough marketing on the one that is out to make us popular, are usually the ones with the “supposed” balls to make such cutting statements and comments. Oh yes, those people and some Kwaito artist has-beens.

Even if the statement were true, what about the music we hear on the Kwaito Top Ten on YFM, some of those songs have pure Kwaito instrumentals backing vocals up, does that mean we then dismiss those songs? I had the awesome priviledge of seeing Mapaputsi rock the Live stage on SABC1 last week Friday and I can safely tell you that Kwaito is not dead. Of course I would still say the same thing if Big Nuz were the ones gracing the stage but I used Mapaputsi because he is a Kwaito artist of note and he is set to release his new album in the next few months. Even he said, he has altered his sound a bit because the game hasn’t been waiting for him, it’s been evolving.

Can we just let music be what it is! People change, cultures evolve, why should music stay the same. Kwaito has provided many South Africans with fantastic soundtracks for their lives and even though I love my Hip-Hop music, you cannot play a TKZee song or “Minwana Phezulu” and not see my face erupt into gleeful nostalgia as I reminisce about my growing pains and joys alike. I bet you many will experience the same thing to Professor and Dj Clock’s music in years to come, never mind what they have to say now.

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  1. mayb sum1 shud bring back that good old sound.the deep bass,the gangster whistle.eish!!!!!

  2. kwaito is not dead you guys must hear this album from this boy BZ NO 1 PANSULA its cool very cool

  3. I agree with Stuka2Shoes, these music videos where there’s young ladies by the pool with bikini’s sipping champagne is just not kwaito. That sound is noisy and intolerable, it must be called Durban house and not kwaito. Guys like Mapaputsi, Mandoza, Tkzee, Bricks don’t sing that crap.

  4. Im 35 and was around 17 kwaito was formed, and much younger (11yrs) when chicago house was kwaito. It truth kwaito was derived from house it was only later when the younger artist started fusing hip-hop into it.

  5. man fo sho kwaito is dead akusela nex===thez no longa gong thing goin on#it was real manje nw sokugcwele
    nezintwana hu wanna be hip pop artists#if i am lying pliz tell mi iphi i kwaito

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